With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's that time of year to start thinking about the production that is Thanksgiving lunch/dinner. Heres my breakdown and thought process behind what is possibly my favorite holiday:
It all starts 2-3 days before the big day...
After almost a month of planning, we make a decision on what exactly is going to be made. Whether we are going to fry and bake a turkey, fry only, bake only, etc..
This year, we are going to fry one turkey and bake another. With that being said, my next move would be to start making a list of ingredients that I am going to need to make sure we have the best, juiciest turkey possible.
Here are some ingredients you can use to brine/marinate your turkey. (Be sure to brine/marinade at least 24 hours in advance.)
Herbs - Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Bay Leaves, Chives
Spices - Black Pepper Corns, Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon
Fruits / Vegetables - Apples, Oranges, Lemons, Lemon Skins, Garlic, Onion, Celery, Carrots
Add any of the previously listed ingredients to your brine mixture for even more flavor!
A basic brine, consists of water, and equal parts sugar and salt. The sugar and salt react and impart more moisture into the protein, resulting in juicer meat.
The day of...
We usually do Thanksgiving lunch at my house and everything starts moving pretty early in the morning. At least one hour prior to cooking, the turkeys come out of refrigeration and sit at room temperature. The reason why we keep them at room temperature is to bring the internal temperature of the turkey to almost be the same as the temperature of the outside of the turkey. What this is will do is result in an even cooking where the outside and inside will be done right around the same time and we will avoid the risk of having a dry turkey.
Anything special for the fried turkey?
When it comes to frying anything, we have to take extra precautions. When it comes to frying a turkey, we stay away from the brine as we cannot risk having any extra moisture that could cause a dangerous situation when we go to fry. The turkey will still come out an hour prior to cooking to be held at room temperature. Prior to frying, I simply season generously with salt and black pepper and it goes into 375 F Degrees for 45 minutes.
***Once the turkeys are done, let them rest for at least 30 minutes. Cutting into them will result in the loss of a lot of moisture.***
What about the sides?
Good communication between family and friends is key when it comes to the sides. Unless you are doing the entire meal yourself, usually family and friends will bring sides. It's important to know who's bringing what so that if you are the one hosting, you can pre-organize everything. Let's face it, Thanksgiving usually leaves a pretty big mess at the end of the day, with tons of dirty dishes. Get things organized as best as possible prior to everyone arriving to ensure a stress free holiday.
The most important thing about Thanksgiving...
Remember that this is a family and friends holiday. Give thanks for everything that you have and everything life has given you. Enjoy!
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime and I will be more than happy to answer them.